It was random, and quick, how it happened.


A chilly September afternoon brought about an added amount of stress that Leal Hardesty didn’t need in her life. She’d been running back and forth, on little to no sleep, for well over two weeks and all she wanted was a small break from the mishaps that only seemed to occur to her.

This day, she was late. Overwhelmed and rushing to make it to her destination before her family could send out an unnecessary search party or grow angrier than they’d already been, life seemed to toss her another kick in the chest when she found herself knocked down. The cake she’d tried so hard to make it to her car with, without incident, toppled over and ruined beside her. Remnants of icing splashed sparsely over her pantlegs.

It felt as if the world closed in around her, and all she wanted to do was give up right then and there.

“Lord, this woman is going to kill me.”

Attempting to stand, she thanked the stranger that extended his hand as he apologized for his clumsiness and the hand he played. “I am terribly sorry. Can I repay you, or would you like me to go in and purchase another cake for you?”

Dusting at the pants she wore, once she was finally on her feet, Leal gave a polite smile and thanked the man for his offer.


When she looked into his eyes, she found herself at a loss for words. Smiles danced across both their lips as he stepped closer. “It was a specialty cake.”

“No worries, just tell me all the details and tell me where I can have it delivered.”

“Gloria’s Cakes delivers?” The man nodded, slightly tickled by the annoyance that spread across her face as she looked away in disbelief. He watched as the loose curls she wore danced with the gentle breeze that blew, shaping her face so often as she bit down on her bottom lip. “And I’m certain my family knew that and chose not to tell me. Greaaat.”

“Please, allow me to take some of the stress that seems to be on your shoulders away. I feel really bad about making your day worse.”

“Well, it’s not too bad now. If I had to be later than I already am, at least it’s because I’m held up by a handsome man.”

He chuckled, blushing a bit as he lowered his head. Strands of his dark brown hair fell over his eyes before he tucked them back into place. Reaching into her pocket, Leal pulled out two folded pieces of paper. One that held the cake details and the other that held the address of the hall her family had rented out for the evening. “Thank you, Mr…?”

“Scott. Brendan Scott, and you’re welcome. May I ask your name?”

“Leal Hardesty.”

“Ms. Hardesty, I guarantee that your cake will be delivered to,” He paused, unfolding and looking down at the papers for a few seconds. “Carrington Hall by eight p.m., and again I am sorry.”

“No problem.”

As he turned away, heading back towards the cake shop she’d exited not long before, Leal watched with a look in her eyes and a feeling that was foreign to her. She held on to that feeling, silently hoping she’d come across him again, with more time on her hand to lollygag and chat.





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